12 – Buche de Noel Cake


A traditional Christmas recipe for a Yule log, just switched around a bit to turn it into a showstopper cake instead,  I love the stripy inside it makes – a perfect winter dessert!  It’s hugely rich and decadent (as you’ll see from the amount of chocolate needed) and the filling is a chocolate French buttercream.


If you want to keep it in the shape of a log then the quantities for the recipe are exactly the same it’s just the assembly that’s different and I’ll point you in the right direction further on in the recipe.



225g dark chocolate, chopped

240ml double cream

7 egg whites

2 tbsps sugar

French Buttercream Filling

100g dark chocolate, chopped

2 tbsps water

75g caster sugar

3 tbsps water

3 egg yolks

175g butter, softened

Chocolate Frosting

350g dark chocolate, chopped

110g butter

150ml double cream

A little icing sugar to dust

There’s a few steps to each element, the roulade, the filling and the frosting, just work through them step by step.

Place the chocolate for the roulade (225g) in a heat proof bowl and set to one side.

In a small pan heat the cream (240ml) until just below boiling point.  Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.


Allow to stand for 2 minutes before stirring together to form a smooth ganache.  Cover and let this cool to room temperature.


Whilst that cools make up the frosting,  in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water melt the chocolate (350g) butter and double cream, stirring frequently until it is smooth and even.

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Remove it from the heat, cover and allow to cool again to room temperature.

So back to the roulade,  line a roasting tin and medium sided baking tray with non stick baking paper.  Ideally it should measure approx 10″ x 14″.  Preheat the oven to 170c(fan)/190c/Gas Mark 5.


In a large clean bowl place the egg whites and caster sugar.  Whilst you’re separating the eggs from the yolks, remember that you’ll need 3 yolks for the filling so keep those separate.

Whisk the whites until stiff peaks.

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Take 1/3rd of the whites and mix into the cooled chocolate ganache you prepared early.  Be sure not to mix it up with the frosting!

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This mixture should have loosened up nicely.  Add a further 1/3rd of the whites and fold in gently.  Repeat with the remaining 1/3rd taking care to retain as much air as possible.

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Gently transfer the mixture to the lined tin and spread out as evenly and gently as you can trying not to knock out much of the air.

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Bake it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until just springy to the touch.

Using the baking paper lift the roulade onto a wire rack to cool.


Now to make the French buttercream filling.  Dice the softened butter and put it in a small bowl.


Gently melt the chocolate (100g) and 2 tbsps of water, mixing it well.  Set this to one side too.

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In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer whisk the 3 egg yolks lightly until they start to go a little paler.

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Add the caster sugar to a small pan with 3 tbsps of water and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.  Brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped into water to make sure any stray sugar crystals go back down into the syrup.

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Boil the sugar syrup gently until it reaches 117c on a a sugar thermometer.

When the sugar reaches temperature take it from the heat and whilst whisking the egg yolks continuously pour in the syrup in a slow steady stream.


Once its all been added keep on whisking until the egg yolk mixture cools back down to room temperature (5-10 minutes).  Once it has cooled keep on whisking and add the chunks of softened butter one at a time, making sure it has been incorporated before adding the next.  Continue until all the butter has been whisked in.



Finally add the melted chocolate/water and whisk in.  That’s the filling done.

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Now for the assembly.

For the cake version release it carefully from the baking paper and cut into 3 equal strips lengthways.  Handle them gently, lifting with a palette knife.


Lay out a long length of baking paper, working on a long surface is best so you may need to decamp to the dining room table!

Set the strips end to end, trimming them where they meet to get them to sit neatly.


Spread evenly with the French buttercream filling.


Cut a 1.5cm piece from the end of the length and flip it over onto itself, this will help with the rolling.


Now lift the end of the baking paper and gently roll up the roulade and filling until you get to the far end.

DSC02972Gently flip the roll onto it’s end.


Wrap around the sides with clingfilm to support and then spread out any of the filling that is oozing out across the top.

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Lift it carefully onto a cake card or plate and place in the fridge to chill.

Once chilled coat the top and sides with the room temp frosting reserving a little for the decoration on the top.  You may need to warm it gently to get an easily spreadable consistency.

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Pipe bulbs of frosting onto the top of the cake using a large open serrated nozzle and place the cake back into the fridge to chill a last time.

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Once the frosting has firmed take a sharp knife and neaten around the base,  lift the cake carefully onto a serving plate and dust with icing sugar snow.


Allow to come to room temperature and serve.

(For a regular Yule log type assembly don’t cut the roulade into strips simply spread the entire piece with the filling.  Roll up from the longest edge.  Using a sharp knife cut off a piece roughly 3.5″ .  Set the longest piece onto a serving plate and position the small piece just to the side as a branch coming off the main log.  Coat all over with the frosting, dust with icing sugar and serve.)


Buche de Noel Cake

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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